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Lena Horne

Artist
Edward Biberman, 23 Oct 1904 - 27 Jan 1986
Sitter
Lena Calhoun Horne, 30 Jun 1917 - 9 May 2010
Date
1947
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 129.5 x 78.7 x 2.5cm (51 x 31 x 1")
Frame: 146.1 x 95.3 x 5.1cm (57 1/2 x 37 1/2 x 2")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© 1947 Edward Biberman
Object number
NPG.85.2
Culture
Lena Calhoun Horne: American\African American
Exhibition Label
Singer and actress Lena Horne helped break the color barrier in mainstream popular culture in the mid-twentieth century, beginning her stage career in the chorus at Harlem's Cotton Club in 1933, where Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway mentored her. In 1942 Hollywood beckoned, but her roles were often musical cameos that southern theaters could cut; Horne once said that Stormy Weather and Cabin in the Sky were the only films "in which I played a character who was involved in the plot." She became Hollywood's highest-paid African American actor, and her renditions of "Stormy Weather" and "Just One of Those Things" were considered classics. During this time, Horne also became a vocal spokesperson for civil rights. She also continued to enjoy a successful nightclub and recording career, and triumphed in the 1980s with her one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music.
Provenance
The artist; purchased 1985 NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
Bravo!
On View
NPG, South Gallery 321 Mezzanine
Place
United States\California\Los Angeles\Los Angeles